How much do you know about the Vietnam War?


By: John Miller

6 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki commons

About This Quiz

The Americans thought of themselves as a powerhouse military. But they bit off more than they could chew in the jungles of Southeast Asia. How much do you know about the Vietnam War?

In Vietnam, the Vietnam War is often NOT known as _____.

It's not known as the war against Nixon. In Vietnam, the infamous conflict is called the Resistance War Against America or the American War.


The war was fought between South Vietnam and ______.

The war began in 1955 as a fight between North and South Vietnam. The agonizing affair dragged on for 20 years, until 1975.


Other counties soon jumped into the fight. It became a war that was all about ______.

As other countries joined the mix, politicians framed the war as a battle of political ideologies. In the West, leaders said the war was necessary to halt the spread of communism.


In America, the Vietnam War is also known as:

Many scholars refer to Vietnam as the Second Indochina War. No matter the moniker, it quickly spiraled out of control.


Which country was one of North Vietnam's biggest allies?

The North Vietnamese were allied with large communist nations, such as China and the Soviet Union. These countries, of course, were at odd with Western political values.


Which country did NOT come to South Vietnam's aid?

The United States, Thailand, South Korea and Australia were major backers of the South. Even with many men and weapons, the battles became very difficult.


Many young men were drafted into the service. Why were working class men more likely to be drafted?

Many young working class men didn't have access to deferments. Men who were entering college, on the other hand, could receive deferments that kept them out of the death trap called Vietnam.


Which side won the war?

The North decisively won the war. It was a devastating result for South Vietnam and a humiliating defeat for the United States.


The Viet Cong fought on which side of the war?

The Viet Cong fought with the North Vietnamese government to reunify all of Vietnam. Their communist leaders felt that violence was their best option.


Just a few years prior to U.S. involvement, the Vietnamese had driven back which modern army?

For years, the French had been trying to secure its imperialistic gains in Vietnam, but the locals wanted the French gone. Their war of resistance ended in victory and France lost its grip on the area. America clearly learned little from the French defeat.


When did the U.S. Congress formally declare war in Vietnam?

The U.S. never declared war. From a technical standpoint, it's the "Vietnam Conflict," but to anyone with a lick of common sense, it was clearly a full-scale war.


What percentage of the soldiers in Vietnam were drafted?

Vietnam has a reputation for draft dodgers, but two-thirds (roughly 66 percent) of soldiers actually volunteered. Those numbers are far higher than the volunteer rates of World War II, which was supposedly the war that everyone wanted to be a part of.


Which incident dragged the U.S. further into the war?

The Gulf of Tonkin incident became infamous. It was an armed confrontation between U.S. and North Vietnamese ships, and it escalated American involvement in the region. As it turns out, the U.S. may have entirely fabricated the situation as an excuse to enter the war.


Many young men dodged the draft by fleeing to which country?

It became a punchline of sorts. Men who wanted to escape the draft fled to Canada. About 125,000 men did this during the war, and years later, they were granted amnesty by President Jimmy Carter.


Vietnam developed a reputation as a deadly meatgrinder. About how many soldiers were killed on their first day in combat?

About 1,000 U.S. soldiers entered combat zones and died immediately from enemy fire. Combat veterans stopped making friends with new guys. They'd be dead soon enough, anyway.


What was "Agent Orange"?

Agent Orange was a type of herbicide meant to defoliate areas of the jungle, making it easier for American forces to operate without constant fear of ambush. But Agent Orange had some interesting and unintended side effects.


What unintended side effect did Agent Orange have?

Agent Orange caused a range of wretched diseases and afflictions. Perhaps four million people were exposed, and to this day, there are still about one million suffering its effects.


How were U.S. soldiers informed that Agent Orange was harmful and its handling required extreme caution?

Authorities repeatedly told U.S. troops that the chemical was harmless, but many of them wound up with serious health issues. Tens of thousands of men filed disability claims after the war, and the government famously contested those claims.


During Vietnam, an average infantryman experienced roughly ____ days of combat per year.

Vietnam was a constant back-and-forth affair. Average front line soldiers could expect about 240 days of combat per year. Contrast that with a World War II infantryman, who might have seen 40 days of combat during a span of four whole years.


What was the Ho Chi Minh trail?

The Ho Chi Minh trail was a logistical system that pushed men and goods from supply areas to the front lines. The North Vietnamese devised many ways to move things quickly along the trail, and they used this system to great advantage during the war.


Which side launched the famous Tet Offensive?

In early 1968, the North Vietnamese launched a huge surprise attack called the Tet Offensive. It included more than 100 towns and turned out to be one of the biggest battles of the war.


What was the name of the first battle between American troops and the North Vietnamese?

In 1965, at the Battle of la Drang, U.S. and North Vietnamese forces fought for the first time. The Americans survived despite being heavily outnumbered, but both sides wound up bloodied.


In 1968, U.S. troops committed what atrocity?

At the horrifying My Lai Massacre, American troops went on a rampage, raping and killing hundreds of civilians. Only one man was ever convicted of war crimes, and he never served any real time.


U.S. officer Hugh Thompson Jr. gained fame for doing what during the war?

Thompson was a helicopter pilot who landed and confronted U.S. troops taking part in the My Lai Massacre. He also rescued Vietnamese children who were in harm's way.


Which side won the famous Battle of Khe Sanh?

At the Battle of Khe Sanh, both sides said that they won. But history has deemed it essentially indecisive. Thousands of soldiers perished in this single battle.


In one infamous war news clip, a man executes a Viet Cong soldier by shooting him in the head. What nationality was the shooter?

He was a South Vietnamese officer named Nguyễn Ngọc Loan, and he executed the Viet Cong soldier for atrocities he'd committed earlier that day. Loan eventually moved to the U.S., but the gruesome video ruined his reputation.


During an evacuation in April of 1975, South Vietnamese Air Force Major Buang-Ly attempted an emergency landing on a U.S. carrier littered with helicopters. How did the U.S. commander respond to the unexpected pilot?

The U.S. commander sacrificed numerous helicopters, simply pushing them off of the carrier deck and into the sea. Then, Buang-Ly landed to a warm welcome -- and he had his wife and five children aboard, too.


What was Operation Rolling Thunder?

Operation Rolling Thunder was a sustained U.S. bombing campaign, meant to boost South Vietnam's morale and pummel the North Vietnamese into oblivion. The operation required unprecedented American time and materials, and its results were dubious.


Did the U.S. achieve total air supremacy during the war?

Thanks to its powerful allies, the North had access to all manner of modern anti-aircraft weapons. They shot down hundreds of U.S. planes during the war and captured many pilots.


As the North Vietnamese steamrolled the South at the end of the war, they closed in on which major city?

The North Vietnamese squeezed the Allies back into Saigon and then the Allies were forced to evacuate. With the fall of Saigon, the South and its allies lost the war.


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